Arctic Security Series

Arctic Security Roundtable Reykjavík (2017)

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (Chairman, Arctic Circle) speaking to participants of the Arctic Security Roundtable (Photo: MSC)

On October 12 in Reykjavík, just before the start of the annual Assembly of the Arctic Circle in the Icelandic capital, the Munich Security Conference brought together 40 leaders and experts from governments, navies and coast guards, research institutes, and civil society for an Arctic Security Roundtable.

Participants included U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, Finnish Minister for Nordic Cooperation Anne-Catherine Berner, Prime Minister of Iceland Bjarni Benediktsson, Swedish Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, and the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Senior representatives from all Arctic states, including Russia, Canada, and Norway, were present.

The Roundtable was supported by the Government of Finland, the Mayor of Reykjavík, and Arctia Ltd., as well as the Munich Security Conference's partners in our Arctic Security Series: the Polar Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the NATO Center of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters, and the Arctic Circle.

You can find a brief summary of the day's discussions in our event report. A selection of photos from the day is available in our media library.

The next MSC Arctic Security Roundtable will take place at the Munich Security Conference (February 16-18, 2018).

Arctic Security Roundtable Washington (2017)

An impression from the Arctic Security Roundtable Washington (Photo: MSC / Kuhlmann).

Several Northern European foreign ministers, among which Timo Soini (Finland) and Børge Brende (Norway), US Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska as well as other experts discussed new security challenges in the Arctic during the MSC Core Group Meeting in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2017.

The MSC Arctic Security Roundtable was hosted jointly with the Wilson Center's Polar Initiative and the Arctic Circle. You can find a brief report here. A few photo impressions are available in the photo album of the MSC Core Group Meeting in Washington.

Arctic Security and the MSC

Arctic Security has become a key topic on the international security agenda: Warming at a pace of at least twice the global average, the Arctic is undergoing a dramatic transformation that has far-reaching geopolitical and security implications. The MSC wants to contribute to the emerging debate through a series of events aimed at select decision-makers at the highest levels of government, the private sector and civil society. 


Arctic Security Roundtables

The Arctic Security Roundtables are designed as an exclusive format, taking place at the side-lines of high-level international events around the world. They bring together a select group of international leaders from within the MSC’s global network, including key decision-makers from the respective region. As with other MSC Roundtables, discussions are private and off-the-record, facilitating a frank and open debate. 

The MSC hosted its first Arctic Security Roundtables during the Munich Security Conference 2017 and during the MSC Core Group Meeting in Washington in May. In October, the MSC hosted another Arctic Security Roundtable in Reykjavík, Iceland. The next Roundtable is scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference 2018 (February 16-18).


Other MSC Activities on Arctic Security

With the recent establishment of the MSC Arctic Security track, the topic already played an important role in many of the MSC's activities, including panel discussions and side events at the annual flagship conference in Munich and will continue to do so. Additionally, a chapter in the Munich Security Report 2017 focused on the topic.